Five Octave Range
Paul Wong, 2017
Non-synced loops, colour, sound, four channel video installation
Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza, Vancouver
Also available as a single channel version
Five Octave Range was created as a site-specific outdoor work for the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza. It was presented as a multi-screen video installation on four 8’ round transparent screens. Created as a series of non-synchronized video and sound loops that permitted an uncanny relationship to coalesce between sound and picture, these portals provided viewers with an up-close and personal experience with opera.
Four opera singers were invited to perform for the camera in a special sound studio suitable for operatic voices in an industrial concrete space with very ‘live’ acoustics. Wong invited two men and two women to reflect a diverse and dynamic range of voices and languages: baritone, tenor, coloratura soprano and mezzo-soprano; English, French, German, Italian and Kwagiulth. Three of the performers identify as LGBTQ2+, one as aboriginal and one of the performers Joel Klein performed in drag as Maria Toilette. The voice is magical and these artists are finely tuned instruments.
The performers were aware of Paul’s intended experimental approach. He was not interested in simply representing a musical piece or a literal performance. Rather, he wanted to explore, and play with vocal and visual gestures, repetition, decay, resonance, motion, purity, abstraction, mashing and mixing. This work was created through post production processes using generative new visual technologies. The results are much like jazz, free form and abstract.
Commissioned by Vancouver Opera Festival. Five Octave Range has been underwritten by a generous grant from the McGrane-Pearson Endowment Fund, with additional in-kind assistance from the Vivo Media Arts Centre.
Director: Paul Wong
Producer: Thomas Anselmi
Video Production: Kevin Doherty
Sound Recording Design: Paddy Ryan
Casting: Rachel Iwaasa
Production Assistants: Jeff Berg and Sebnem Ozpeta